- Bella Turhune
Welcome back, Pokémon fans! Today I will be writing about my favorite Pokémon manga, Pokémon Adventures. Although few people seem to talk about them, there are many different manga adaptations of Pokémon. These manga add so much to the world of Pokémon media with their more fleshed out storytelling and great accompanying illustrations. I’ve read the generation 1 and 2 sagas of Pokémon Adventures many times and enjoyed them greatly, so I will tell you all about my favorite aspects of these manga. Watch out for spoilers, and enjoy!
The aspect of Pokémon Adventures that I love most is the characters. The silent protagonists from the main series games now have speech and personality, the side characters have more importance in the story and there are many awesome new characters like Green and Yellow. Even some of the Pokémon themselves have personality and backstory, for example Red’s Eevee. Because Team Rocket experimented on Eevee, it was initially wary of people and could transform between its three evolutions at the time, Flareon, Jolteon and Vaporeon, at will. However, Eevee bonded with Red over time, and it eventually evolved into the Pokémon Espeon, which requires high friendship for evolution in the games as well. The characters also have fun relationships to watch. I especially enjoy seeing the rivalries between characters such as Red and Blue and Gold and Silver; watching these characters grow from hating each other to grudgingly working together to being strong allies is cool and rewarding.
The villains in Pokémon Adventures are also amazing. Team Rocket is not the only villain; the Kanto gym leaders, Kanto elite four, and Johto gym leader Pryce also serve as villains in the manga. The bad guys feel much more sinister in the manga than in the games since the villains are more serious than goofy. Additionally, interactions between the main characters and the villains put the characters in real danger; Pokémon battles between the two sides not only involve the Pokémon themselves but the trainers, and the good guys come close to death more than once. The most intense moment for me is when Koga and Lt. Surge have Blue and Red, respectively, trapped in Silph Co and nearly kill them, but luckily Red and Blue’s ingenuity saves them both. The villains also have motivations beyond power. The Kanto elite four want to eradicate humans to create a Pokémon paradise, and Pryce wants to capture the mythical Pokémon Celebi so that he can travel back in time to save the parents of his Lapras La Glace. The foreboding villains makes the characters’ journeys even more exciting.
Not only the human characters, but the many areas and towns of Kanto and Johto also get a lot more characterization. These areas gain an atmosphere that they often had little of before thanks to great artwork and storytelling. For example, Lavender Town in the generation 1 games already had a spooky atmosphere because of the scary music and the Pokémon Tower, a graveyard for dead Pokémon, but Pokémon Adventures took the fright factor to a new level. Everyone in the town is unfriendly and it is pouring rain when Red first arrives there. The ominous factor grows when Red looks for Blue in the Pokémon Tower, where a mindless horde of undead Pokémon try to kill Red and Blue because of a special mist released by a Pokémon of one of the villains, Koga. Other areas with great characterization in the manga include Viridian City, Saffron City, and the Silph Co. Tower, all of which are also locations of more sinister happenings within Pokémon Adventures.
My final favorite aspect of the Pokémon Adventures manga are the battle sequences. The manga can get a lot more creative with battles and battle strategies than the video games, and that license shows. Battles also feel more intense since the Pokémon trainers themselves get involved as well; Pokémon are no longer the only ones that can get injured in a fight. For example, when Red got lost in the Fuchsia City safari zone, he almost got eaten and digested by a Victreebel, a carnivorous plant-like Pokémon. Pokémon moves also feel much truer to their descriptions. The move Razor Wind can actually cut Pokémon and people, and the move Acid Armor allows Vaporeon to liquify itself and hide in the ground. Battles in the manga are just so exciting. I particularly remember the Pokémon tournament at Indigo Plateau in the generation 1 set of manga. Red and Blue, friends and rivals, face off in an epic battle. The opponents are so evenly matched, and the battle has many twists and turns as different Pokémon come in and out of battle. In the end, Blue seems to be the last one standing, but he and his Charizard collapse to leave Red as the winner of the tournament.
I hope that I was able to teach you all some about the Pokémon Adventures manga and maybe even get some of you interested in reading it. I always have such a good time rereading these manga, and I may even try to read them again over the summer. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see all you Pokémon trainers again soon!